Algarve Vehicle Importation For Residents
If you have made your move to the Algarve in Portugal and have done so without importing your own vehicle from the UK your options for transport include renting a car from one of the many rental companies or buying a used or new vehicle.
Transport Options In The Algarve
If you take out a long rental during winter it can work out quite cheap, however, during the summer months, the rental price does increase markedly.
Buying a second-hand car is another option, but be warned the prices of used cars are expensive compared to the UK. Even the cheapest cars are well overpriced in comparison to the same vehicle in the UK.
If taking this option make sure you get a decent warranty and try to buy from a reputable dealer. Recommendations from friends who have already bought a used car in the Algarve are worth following.
Buying a new car will also spring a financial surprise as the final prices are around 40% more than the normal prices in the UK. There are some concessions if you go green and opt for an electric vehicle.
Importing a New or Used Vehicle
Another option would be to import a car from another country including your own car. In this article, we are presuming you have now lost the option to import exempt tax.
This can be a time-consuming process which involves a lot of paperwork and delivering said paperwork to the relevant departments.
Although it does work out cheaper than buying a new or used car in the Algarve, there are registration and taxation fees involved for most vehicles.
You can also add shipping costs unless you are driving the car to the Algarve yourself, which can be well over €1,000 depending on where the car is coming from.
The Process Of Importing a Car Into The Algarve
To import your car you need to go through the Portuguese Tax and Customs Authority (Autoridade Tributária e Aduaneira). The process and costs depend on the country of origin. The full costs are:
- Vehicle import tax (ISV) is a maximum of 10%. You can work out tax costs on this simulator.
- VAT, currently at 23%
To import a car into the Algarve, you will need to provide:
- Your valid ID document
- Proof of vehicle ownership in the current registration papers.
- EU Certificate of Conformity or equivalent road standard certificate.
- Vehicle inspection certificate (MOT) if the car is over four years old, plus signed agreement to undergo IPO test in Portugal.
- Vehicle Customs Certificate (Declaração Aduaneira de Veículo – DAV)
- Your completed IMT form
You can complete most of the paperwork online by setting up an account with the Portuguese authorities.
You will need to register your imported vehicle within 60 days of arrival in the Algarve.
Requirements and Documentation to Import a Vehicle
To import a car you need to be a resident of the Algarve so you will need a residency permit.
The car needs to go through a proper inspection to ensure that it meets Portuguese highway standards. The inspection can be carried out at any of the authorised inspection centres within the Algarve.
There are variations in the standards required which depend on the model and age of the vehicle.
At the point of applying for your residency permit, your foreign driver’s license needs to be converted to a Portuguese driver’s license.
If you are importing a new car into the country from outside Portugal, Value Added Tax would not be collected from you, but if you sell the car within a year, the tax would automatically be due for renewal.
A car can be shipped into the country duty-free once in 5 years.
You are issued with an “All-in-One” card for the vehicle which must be kept in the car at all times. The card serves as a license plate, vehicle registration and a log book.
After getting this card, you are expected to get a new license plate. Your car can be registered at any IMT local civil vehicle registry office. All the application documents needed for the process are in Portuguese.
However, if you are confused or clueless the helpful staff in the Citizen’s shop (Loja do Cidadão) are there to assist foreigners in filling in applications such as vehicle registration, utility accounts and ID cards.
Our Conclusion About Importing
One can be easily confused with the processes, as all the required documents are in Portuguese. So it is best to get help if you are not fluent in the language.
You can also use one of the many dealers who will import a car for you. The process is much easier although you will have to pay a fee for them to do the work for you.
I have lived in the Algarve for over 20 years and love the experience. Now writing about and photographing the Algarve experience to share with others.
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